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This Week in Legacy: March Legacy Challenge and Other Tournaments


Welcome to another This Week in Legacy. The March Legacy Challenge just occurred, and there's a few decks to have a look at and a few new innovations developing. We'll also go around the world to other tournaments in America and Europe, where a lot of spice, as always, is to be found.

March Legacy Challenge

Another month, another Magic Online Legacy Challenge. This month Miracles took down the top spot (and many other spots) of the tournament. The full breakdown, down to Top 16 was:

Find the fuller breakdown, with lists and everything, here. Four Miracles in the Top 8, amongst RUG Lands, Grixis Delver, BR  Reanimator, and Elves. The Top 16 looks a little more interesting, but let's dig into these successful Miracles list, because they all looked quite similar.

All the Miracles list of the tournament were the hard-controlling Predict versions of the deck, which is picking up more and more pace Online. Entreat the Angels has always been a stronger trump than Monastery Mentor in fair, grindy BUG matchups, and these lists exemplify the game plan of grind, with Predicts for card advantage, and then set up a almost-lethal Entreat in one turn. These Entreats are certain to be liabilities against combo, however, where a Mentor can kill the opponent quickly before they break through CounterTop. But it is a fair midrangey world we are (apparently) living in, and so Miracles lists like these can truly show their power.

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The other interesting change is the lowered amount of Counterbalance, again a likely nod towards the Abrupt Decay decks of the world that cannot be locked out easily and must instead be grinded through. This leaves the main deck, excluding the Counterbalances, very Abrupt Decay proof and largely able to ignore the card by wisely pitching Counterbalances or Brainstorming or shuffling them away. An Abrupt Decay trading for a lowly Snapcaster Mage is sure to be a good deal to many a Miracles player.

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The sideboards of all four lists are also very straightforward, running a full set of Blasts and a pile of Flusterstorms and Surgical Extractions for combo, and some number of Wear // Tear. Interestingly, not all players had Monastery Mentor for a more aggressive transformational plan, still leaning hard on the power of Miracles' pure control.

A few exciting ones in sideboards are Blessed Alliance and Devastation Tide. Alliance is an excellent, clean answer to True-Name, which also has a few other relevant modes. Seems like a great Snapcaster target too. Devastation Tide I suppose acts like a fifth Terminus, though I wonder if more Engineered Explosives or Supreme Verdict aren't simply better.

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Next, let's look at the Reanimator variants. CrazeyR15 brought a somewhat typical Black-Red list to a solid finish (though main deck Collective Brutality says a lot about fears of Deathrite Shaman), but more interesting was Wiess on Blue-Black Reanimator... But not as we typically know it.

Don't mistake yourself, this is more along the lines of speedy Black-Red than the typical Blue-Black Reanimator that can support cantrips and Force of Will. Black-Red's splash has almost always been just for Faithless Looting in the main, along with sideboard options, and although flashback is nice, I'm sure it's a luxury many could live without. Going deeper on the Blue splash gives access to the equivalent Careful Study, but more importantly sideboard Show and Tell without splashing an additional color, which allows the deck to keep its gameplan proactive even post-board by sidestepping hate like Grafdigger's Cage or Shaman.

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It's questionable whether this list is better than the typical Force of Will Blue-Black variants, but it certainly has a lot more explosiveness due to it having Black-Red's hallmark Dark Ritual. It looks like the explosive Reanimator decks aren't solved quite yet.

The other notable in the Top 8 was Call1Me1Dragon on RUG Lands, which as I mentioned a few weeks ago, is getting more and more traction and catching up to its pure Red-Green brethren. Also included in the list was Subterranian Tremors as sweeper of choice!?

Moving on down to the Top 16, there were notably quite a few Delver variants. M0X brought the typical Hymn to Tourach BUG Delver that players like malimujo have been a huge proponent of, but JPA93 brought something quite different:

Gurmag Angler-based Delver decks have traditionally been Grixis to capitalize on the power of Lightning Bolt, which is great in an aggressive and low-to-the-ground shells. Here, True-Name Nemesis has been chosen as the late-game reach of choice, along with Deathrite's usual pings. Stifle has also occasionally been seen in these shells too, and JPA93's list included it, and it is excellent with Thought Scour due to being able to hold up either and spend mana efficiently no matter what the opponent does. I like the look of this list, and it's quite reminiscent, to me, of Dark Thresh, though it trades Mongooses for Anglers, which definitely benefits it in certain matchups (such as Delver mirrors) but is a bit of a liability against Miracles, since he is just a big, dumb idiot that dies to Plows.

Looking to other Delver decks, Louis Bachard once again found a solid placing in the Challenge with his atypical Grixis Delver list. It leans a bit four-colur, with Abrupt Decay in the main, along with both Therapy and Stifle.

Emma Handy also made an appearance on UR Delver, which she also took to Baltimore a few weeks prior.

I feel that UR is in a place ready to make a resurgence, as its aggressive nature is powerful against midrange decks and other Delver decks who struggle to beat a lean deck curving out with removal. Emma had a few interesting choices in her list:

  • Only three Force of Will, showing an awareness of the lowered amount of combo and more room for burn.
  • A Vendilion Clique over the second Reveler, removing potentially dead cards and adding a disruptive beater.
  • A singleton Thunderous Wrath and Fireblast, two "big" spells to finish the opponent. I'm not sure how much I like Wrath, as it can be a risky card to open a hand with, but with Brainstorm and Ponder it becomes a very threatening one-of.

The only thing I worry concerning UR Delver is the medium-to-poor Miracles matchups, where threats get easily dealt with and CounterTop is miserable. A solid sideboard plan against Miracles is what I'd recommend. Pyroblast, Sulfuric Vortex, or Exquisite Firecraft are musts.

Tournaments Around the World

Next, let's look at some interesting events that occurred around the world - but before that, I'd like to give a shout-out to all those who corrected me for the article from two weeks ago. I featured a "German" tournament, but many corrected me and told me what the event truly was: the Austrian Legacy Open! You can actually find heaps of coverage of the event here:

Some really spicy brews there indeed!

Nonetheless, let's next move to a tournament in Lucerne; this event had a very wild Top 8 and an even wilder deck as a winner.

This is Nic Fit as you've never seen it before. More combo-ey than anything, this version aims to accelerate out an Academy Rector and then use a sacrifice effect to get Omniscience, or whatever powerful enchantment, into play. There's the usual Cabal Therapy, but Phyrexian Tower and Diabolic Intent make things pretty easy. Diabolic Intent and Rector immediately assemble Omniscience and Emrakul for the win. However, this deck also has a lot of back-door ways to combo out too. Monastery Mentor and multiple Tops are seen in this list just like Miracles and with an Omniscience in play this can lead to an infinite army of Monks (but really, anything is possible with Omniscience in play). The grind plan of this list is also strong. Planeswalkers are, as always, a Nic Fit hallmark, but Lingering Souls also found itself three slots in this list, and its synergy with Cabal Therapy is notable.

Nic Fit always has a few variants flying around, but this one is certainly an amazing brew and kudos to Nicholas for getting it to the top of the tournament!

Second was Dredge:

This list takes a lot of influence from Damon "Parcher" Whitby, of The Source fame, along with SCG Open-winner Joseph Moreno. A more diverse threat suite of Ichorid, Narcomoeba, and Prized Amalgam (making Force of Will supportable) are hallmarks of Damon's list, while Tristan's addition of Ashen Ghoul is a very old throwback, but nonetheless makes the deck even more resilient to Surgical Extraction effects while also making sure Amalgam easily gets triggered. The additional threat density also makes this deck less reliant on combo kills with Dread Return (with only one in the seventy-five), and more about resilient Zombie beatdown backed up with the disruption of Cabal Therapy.

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Other influences are the anti-hate package. Street Wraith is common in Joseph Moreno's list (sometimes in the main) as a way to protect Dredgers from Surgical effects and add further acceleration. Also great as food for Ichorid or to stack on top of Ghoul! Wear // Tear is almost the new standard anti-hate card for Dredge, as Serenity has gotten more lackluster with Eldrazi less prominent (which touted Chalice and Leyline) and Decay potentially tagging it from the BUG decks. Wear // Tear, although reaching three mana for Fuse against Eldrazi can be a challenge, is a happy compromise between all these factors.

The package of sideboard disruption is what I love most, though:

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Force of Will and Unmask provide much needed defense against combo, and the plan of "Zombie tempo" is what I thoroughly enjoy about Dredge, and these cards epitomize this well, along with Cabal Therapy massacring the opponent's hand along the way. These cards also give defense against certain hate cards like Rest in Peace, Grafdigger's Cage, or even just a Deathrite Shaman. Because Dredge operates on such an unfair axis, where resources are primarily in the graveyard, two-for-oneing oneself in terms of cards in hand means little. Also note the Dread Return target of this deck, Ashen Rider, in the sideboard, is primarily used as a utility card rather than a combo piece.

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A few other lists made appearances in this tournament too: a BUG midrange deck that opted for Mandrills over the more typical Gurmag Angler in fourth place, along with a very spicy Maverick, Loam... Deck.

This emulates traditional 4c Loams deck somewhat, but cuts out two colors and Chalice (from the main) to give access to Crop Rotation and Swords to Plowshares. It still retains Mox Diamond and Loam, however.

A few other brilliant little synergies are all the land sacrifice effects and Flagstones of Trokair. Sylvan Safekeeper and Crop Rotation can be used with essentially no downside, and also fuel some busted Lotus Cobra synergies. Titania, Protector of Argoth also appreciates these.

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One of the other tournaments to look at is the first Quest for Power at the MTGFirst Game Centre, that brought seventy-seven players to battle for a Mox Jet! Find the Top 8 here, and the deck I'd like to highlight below:

Kevin's list is highly reminiscent of the 4c Control decks that have been popping up very often on Magic Online, largely promoted by player pellenik. Largely a Blue-Black control deck splashing both Red and Green for Kolaghan's Command and Abrupt Decay, it also features a very interesting choice for card advantage engine:

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Night's Whisper looks a little unimpressive compared to something such as Painful Truths, but the leaner mana cost is certainly nice and can allow countermagic or one-mana removal like Fatal Push to be held up. Other interesting options in this list include Swan Song, which is a nice answer to Sneak & Show's two combo pieces above all, but is a relevant piece of stack interaction against many combo decks.

Conclusion

And that wraps us up for another This Week in Legacy. As always, here's some links to have a look out to round out your Legacy learning:

  • Andrea Mengucci has asked for you, yes you, to talk to him about what decks he should pilot. Give him a word on reddit here, and what his recent video on 4c Control here.
  • In terms of podcasts, The Brainstorm Show has a new episode up, talking about sideboarding! Legacy Breakfast also has a new episode about budge deck choices.
  • The Duke continues his talk about Legacy on CFB, this time diving into Delver decks! Find it here.
  • The Library at Pendrell Vale hammer out some great European Eternal Weekend prep data (yes, that's coming up soon!), Claudio Bonnani, GP Lille winner, talks about MiraclesStill, and featured is some spicy Ataraxa action in a new video series.
  • Julian slogged his way through a sea of Miracles in the recent challenge to once again make Top 8! He's been on a heater, and he's rebroadcast them all at itsjulian.com as always.
  • More content from friends at CBR MTG and RailbirdGaming! Check out some spicy decks battling it out.

I'd also like to shout out all my friends from Melbourne, Australia, who joined me for "Duals to Protect the Jewels" a charity Legacy tournament for Prostate Cancer Research. We ended up with sixty-six players (one of our biggest events in awhile) and will have a few reports, podcasts and metagame breakdowns to come. For now, you can see all the celebrations here in a photo album!

'Til next time!

Sean Brown

Email: sean_brown156@hotmail.com
Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

What I'm Playing This Week

I had an amazing time playing Canadian Threshold at Duals to Protect the Jewels, and I'll have more to speak on that next week. I did say I wanted to go deeper on LED Dredge though...

And this is likely the list I will bring. Again, more about Zombie tempo than anything, going up to the full four Force of Will. I'd love to find room for a Firestorm or two, but that'll likely edge out the spicy Ashen Ghouls in the side.

The Spice Corner

This comes from a tournament in Hamburg, Germany and is another look at Death's Shadow in Legacy...

Deathrite Shaman, Dark Confidant, and True-Name are all threats you should be well-acquainted with, but Valrolz, the Scar-Striped is a bit of an oddity... Until he becomes a monster thanks to scavenging a Phyrexian Dreadnought or Death's Shadow, creating a 14/14 or 15/15 beater respectively. This list can also just cast Dreadnought and Shadow normally - having Bob and Thoughtseize to make Shadow a solid threat and Stifle to stop Dreadnought's trigger.


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